‘Orange exam hall causes stress’

The loud orange paint job of the Aletta Jacobshal at Zernike stresses people out, which prompted one RUG student to start a petition.

Ellen Versluijs, a third-year Middle Eastern studies student, was sick of the stress she felt every time she entered the exam hall, which is why she decided to start a petition. So far, it has been signed 66 times. ‘I don’t know how many I need to convince the RUG, but I hope to collect at least a hundred signatures.’

According to Versluijs, the exam hall’s orange paint has absolutely no positive effect on the exam outcomes. ‘I always prepare really well. I manage to keep the stress at bay until I get to the door, but once I’m inside the Aletta Jacobshal, I get stressed out’, she says. Versluijs is sure she is not the only one suffering from the bright orange. ‘It’s pretty bizarre to paint an exam hall in a colour that causes stress.’

Tight budget

According to the building’s architect, Haiko Meijer, the designers had to make do with a tight budget and minimal means seven years ago. In order to add a little pizzazz, they decided to paint the exam hall a bright colour. The idea is that the orange paint ‘jolts the students awake’ before they start their exam, according to Meijer.

But they certainly did not intend to cause stress, the architect emphasises. ‘I’m aware of the psychology of that colour’, he says. That is why, according to Meijer, they decided to paint only the hallway, the stairwell and the outside of the building orange. The rooms where the students take their exams are painted a ‘simpler, more subdued colour’.

Baby blue

RUG spokesperson Gernant Deekens says that the Aletta Jacobshal is not due for an upgrade any time soon. Moreover, changing the colour would cost extra, which is not included in the service budget, according to Deekens. He does not think the petition will do much: ‘A petition will probably not have any effect on whether we would change the colour of a building.’

If the colour of the Aletta Jacobshal is changed after all, Versluijs hopes it could be painted something a bit more soothing: ‘Baby blue, for example, or light green.’